As noted on my about page, I am a passionate sports fan. From the age of 13 on I wanted to be a sportscaster and earned a degree in broadcast news with that goal in mind. As a result, many (though not all) of the posts I make on the blog will be sports related. With that being my set up, today I am going to write about the latest news coming out of Knoxville–the NCAA is looking into possible recruiting violations by Lane Kiffin’s Volunteers.
There are only a billion ways a college program can run afoul of the NCAA and no, I am not exaggerating. Okay, I am, but let me tell you, not by much. This particular investigation caught my eye, however, for two reasons–one, as a fan and graduate of the University of Georgia, I don’t like Tennessee and two, because of the nature of the violation the NCAA is looking into. The NCAA’s investigation centers around allegations that Tennessee sent recruiting “hostesses” 200 miles away from the UT campus to attend a South Carolina high school football game. This could be a violation because hostesses are considered to be representatives of the university they attend and this type of activity may not take place off campus.
It is not uncommon for colleges to try to sweeten the recruiting experience by having female students hang out with visiting male athletes (though I wonder how often the track or tennis teams at these schools use this tactic) and I am almost positive that my own alma mater, Georgia, does something similar. As revealed in yesterday’s New York Times article, the UT hostesses that attended the high school game in South Carolina sat in the stands and held up signs that among other slogans read, “Come to Tennessee.” That’s not a horribly degrading act, but as the mother of a 16-year old girl, I have to admit that the fact that this practice is still being employed at all bums me out. I’d like my daughter to go out into a world where women aren’t being used by institutions of higher learning as eye candy.
With the help of Google, I found this 1987 Sports Illustrated article on the subject of recruiting hostesses. I am willing to bet that 22 years later not much, if anything, has changed with regard to motivation or tactics.
Do you have a problem with the practice of coeds being used to lure male athletes to a campus?